The Kentucky Wildcats (21-11, 8-4 SEC) capped off a wild weekend of baseball by holding on to complete a 9-8 victory on Sunday afternoon to take the series over the visiting Florida Gators (21-11, 5-7 SEC), 2 games to 1.
The Gators took a 3-2 advantage into the sixth inning. That’s when the Kentucky bats exploded for six runs.
Bobby Poyner got Kyle Barrett to ground out to start the inning off strong but things quickly spiraled out of control. Thomas Bernal singled with one out and that was followed by a single from Matt Reida. JaVon Shelby reached on a fielder’s choice, giving Kentucky men on the corners with two away. Austin Cousino singled to score the first run of the inning and Max Kuhn cleaned the bases with Kentucky’s second home run of the afternoon.
After it was all said and done, Kentucky scored seven runs in the frame and Florida’s one-run lead had quickly turned into a six-run deficit.
The eighth inning was a wild one on Saturday, with Kentucky scoring eight runs to almost come back and beat Florida. The Gators decided to get things going with a crazy eighth inning of their own on Sunday.
Richie Martin singled through the right side and was moved to second on Harrison Bader’s single one pitch later. Taylor Gushue doubled down the right field line for Florida’s third-consecutive hit. Gushue’s double plated Martin and put two runners in scoring position with nobody out. Braden Mattson’s sacrifice fly scored the second run of the inning and chased Dylan Dwyer from the game. A.J. Puk pinch hit for Zack Powers and lined a ball back up the middle to move Gushue to second.
That set the stage for freshman Peter Alonso (7-14 on the weekend). Alonso took a patient approach at the plate, watching the first two offerings and setting himself up nicely with a 2-0 count. Alonso sat back, went the other way and launched a 2-0 fastball high over the wall in right-center for a three-run jack. Buddy Reed and John Sternagel struck out to end the threat.
Unfortunately, a threat is all Florida could muster up in the end. The Gators would fall to Kentucky, 9-8, giving the Wildcats an advantage in tiebreakers over Florida and South Carolina in the SEC East.
The Schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Gators, who hit the road twice this week, first traveling to Tallahassee to take on Florida State before a weekend series in Columbia, South Carolina against the Gamecocks.